Toronto Baseball Guys
Friday, February 27, 2009
  Who Are These Guys? Part II
The second installment in our guide to the Blue Jays' 214 spring training invitees. We'll start by polishing off the "B's."

Brian Burres, 27, LHP
Hmmm, let's see, 165 hits - 17 of them home runs, allowed in 129 innings pitched. 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio, roughly 4K/9IP... Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the left-handed version of Josh Towers. Picked up after the Orioles designated him for assignment, the only thing Burres has going for him is that he was able to make 22 starts last season, so he can fill a void in place of a younger, more fragile arm. Hope for a line of 5IP 9H 4R 4ER 2BB 2K and then get him out of there and hope the bullpen and the offense can scrape together a win.

Excitement Factor:

Fabio Castro, 24, LHP

Are the Jays so desperate for arms that they've resorted to over-the-hill romance novel cover boys? Thankfully, it's not THAT Fabio. This one is the swag from the Matt Stairs trade. He's a little guy, listed at just 5'7", the smallest hurler to suit up for the Jays since the late Ken Robinson. His career strikeout rate is close to 9/game, so he's clearly a live arm. The Jays are already awash in relievers, particularly port-siders, with Ryan, Downs, Tallet and Carlson already in the fold, but Castro did make 18 minor league starts last season, so the Jays may be eyeing him as a starter down the road.

Excitement Factor:

Dirk Hayhurst, 28, RHP
Ex-Padre Hayhurst has put up some nifty strikeout rates, too, specifically 98 Ks in just 84 innings for AAA Portland last season. But for all that he was still pretty hittable, and was beaten like the Washington Generals in his major league callup (37 runners in 16.2 innings and a tidy 9.72 ERA). His usage pattern was also a little confusing, as he made three starts for the Padres after making only two in 46 appearances on the farm. The Jays may kick his tires as a potential starter, but the odds here are long.

Excitement Factor:

Bill Murphy, 27, LHP
Murphy has logged a little time in the show thanks to a September callup with the Diamondbacks in '07. Last season he was a swingman with Syracuse. His bio is the kind of mixed bag reminiscent of Homer Simpson's conversation with the cursed Krusty doll salesman:

Agent: He made 24 starts and pitched 142 innings last year.
Jays' management: That's good.
A: But he gave up 155 hits
J.M.: That's bad.
A: But he struck out 152 batters.
J.M.: That's good.
A: But he walked 84 and has averaged more than 5 per nine inning over his career.
J.M.: That's bad.
A: He is left-handed...

Will he come with free frogurt? Only time will tell, but if he's called on to make a start or two, expect a slow game with lots of deep counts and standing around.

Excitement Factor:
 
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